Friday, 29 November 2019

Yes - The Psychedelic Years (1969)

In September 1967, Chris Squire joined Mabel Greer's Toyshop, a psychedelic group that included Peter Banks, singer Clive Bayley and drummer Bob Hagger. They played at the Marquee club where Jack Barrie, owner of the La Chasse drinking club a few doors down, saw them perform, and was impressed with their musicianship. One evening at La Chasse, Barrie introduced Squire to Jon Anderson, a worker at the bar who had sung with The Gun and also released a few solo singles, but with little success. The two found they shared common musical interests including Simon & Garfunkel, The Association and vocal harmonies,and in the following days they developed 'Sweetness', a track later recorded for the first Yes album. As the band developed, Anderson and Squire brought in drummer Bill Bruford, keyboardist Tony Kaye and Banks for rehearsals, eventually deciding to drop the name Mabel Greer's Toyshop.

After Tony Kaye joined Winston's Fumbs they recorded their one and only single 'Real Crazy Apartment', and shortly after that came out Kaye was invited to attend rehearsals with members of Mabel Greer's Toyshop, a London-based psychedelic rock band, who were forming a new, full-time group. He was approached by bassist Chris Squire after singer Jon Anderson had met Kaye some time before and suggested him, and after a successful audition, he joined Squire and Anderson in the new band.

When Peter Banks left The Syndicats he formed a new band with ex-The Selfs bassist Chris Squire, calling themselves The Syn. They were joined by keyboardist Andrew Pryce Jackman, Steve Nardelli on vocals and Gunnar Jökull Hákonarson on drums, and they recorded two singles, 'Created by Clive'/'Grounded' and 'Flowerman'/'14 Hour Technicolour Dream', in 1967 before calling it a day a year later. Squire meanwhile joined friends Clive Bayley (rhythm guitar) and Bob Hagger (drums) in Mabel Greer's Toyshop, and Banks came to join them, although he briefly left to play with the band Neat Change on their sole single 'I Lied to Aunty May'. Banks then returned to Mabel Greer's Toyshop, and with the loss of Bayley and the addition of organist/pianist Tony Kaye, they started to write new music together, adding to a repertoire which already included Squire/Bayley's 'Beyond And Before' and Anderson/Squire/Bayley's 'Sweetness'.

Meanwhile, Steve Howe's band The In-Crowd had renamed themselves Tomorrow and adopted a psychedelic rock sound, writing more original songs and changing their stage clothes. In 1967, they released two singles, the classic 'My White Bicycle', and it's follow-up 'Revolution, the latter co-written by Howe. During the recording of a new single with producer Mark Wirtz, Howe was asked by Wirtz to record some guitar as a session musician, which he eagerly accepted, and the session led to him recording a selection of singles for EMI, which included his first song 'Mothballs', also known as 'So Bad'. He played guitar on Keith West's single 'Excerpt From A Teenage Opera', which went to No. 2 in the UK, and Howe and his Tomorrow bandmates also took part in a pie fight scene in 1967's satirical comedy film 'Smashing Time'. After Tomorrow split in 1967, Howe played on several songs by their singer Keith West, and by 1968, with his reputation as a guitarist on the rise, he was invited to join Bodast, a trio who went by the name of Canto for a short period. They signed a record deal with Tetragrammaton Records and put down a selection of songs in 1969 at Trident Studios for an album with West as producer, but the label went out of business shortly before its release. After Bodast split, Howe auditioned for The Nice as a potential new member, but decided it wasn't for him, and left the next day, being offered an audition with Jethro Tull, which he failed to attend when he learned the guitarist they wanted would not contribute to the songwriting. He also had a try out with Atomic Rooster while Carl Palmer was a member, but that didn't gel, and so in 1970 he toured as a member of American soul singer P. P. Arnold's backing band, alongside future members of Ashton, Gardner and Dyke, and in April of that year he was approached by Yes to replace the recently-departed Peter Banks. 

When Jon Anderson returned to London a year after the Warriors split up in Germany in 1967, he met Jack Barrie, owner of the La Chasse drinking club in Soho, who had befriended the rest of the Warriors after they had relocated to the city. With no money or accommodation, Barrie allowed Anderson and ex-Warrior Brian Chatton to stay with him, and Anderson helped out by working at La Chasse. During this time he got talking to Paul Korda, a producer for EMI Records, who took him on to sing several demos, and after that he travelled to the Netherlands to join Les Crunches, a band he had met in London. On hearing that some of his demos were to be released as singles by Parlophone Records under the pseudonym Hans Christian, he promptly returned to England, but despite positive reviews in the press neither was successful. In May 1968, Barrie introduced Anderson to Chris Squire, bassist of the London-based rock band Mabel Greer's Toyshop, which had previously included guitarist Peter Banks, and as the two talked they found they shared common musical interests such as Simon & Garfunkel and the idea of vocal harmonies. After some gigs as lead singer in Mabel Greer's Toyshop the members started talking of forming a new band, and in June 1968 they hired Bill Bruford to replace founding drummer Robert Hagger.

William Scott Bruford was born on 17 May 1949 in Sevenoaks, Kent, and decided to take up drumming at the age of thirteen after watching American jazz drummers on the BBC2 jazz TV series, Jazz 625. He cites Max Roach, Joe Morello, Art Blakey, and Ginger Baker as his favourite and most influential drummers as a youngster, and after his sister bought him a pair of drum brushes as a birthday present he gradually built a full drum kit. During his time at boarding school he befriended several fellow jazz fans, and they performed as a four-piece named The Breed from 1966 to 1967 until he was no longer able to attend all their gigs. In 1968 he auditioned for a place in The Savoy Brown Blues Band, but only lasted three gigs as he messed with the beat, and so he joined psychedelic rock band Paper Blitz Tissue in time to record their only single 'Boy Meets Girl'. After he left that band he settled into a flat in north London and placed an advertisement for drum work in the Melody Maker, which was spotted by Jon Anderson, then a member of Mabel Greer's Toyshop. Following a meeting with the rest of the band, Anderson was so impressed with Bruford that he invited him to play with the band that very evening at the Rachel McMillan College in Deptford. Following the gig, Bruford had several offers to join soul bands but chose to remain with Anderson and Squire, who took charge in forming a new band with Peter Banks and Tony Kaye.

After dropping the name Mabel Greer's Toyshop they settled on Yes as the new name, and everything was now in place for the newly-christened band to rehearse, and to start writing material for their first album, destined to become the starting point for a long and illustrious career for all the current and subsequent members. Rick Wakeman joined in 1971, and so is outside the scope of these collections, even though I stretched it slightly to include Steve Howe, who was not actually a founding member of the band, but did join just after their first album had been released. In 1981 Howe obtained the recordings of the songs taped for the Bodast album, and remixed and released them himself, but for these compilations I've just used tracks where he was involved in the songwriting as well as playing on the song, otherwise half the album would be Bodast tracks. If nothing else, these four albums show that every member of Yes had paid their dues over the years, slogging away in various moderately successful or unappreciated bands, and so fully deserved the success and acclaim then they eventually achieved.  

Track listing

Winston's Fumbs (Tony Kaye)
01 Real Crazy Apartment (single 1967)

The Syn (Chris Squire, Peter Banks)
02 Created By Clive (single 1967)
03 Grounded (b-side of 'Created By Clive')

Tomorrow (Steve Howe)
04 My White Bicycle (single 1967)
05 Claramont Lake (b-side of 'My White Bicycle')

Paper Blitz Tissue (Bill Bruford)
06 Boy Meets Girl (single 1967)

Hans Christian (Jon Anderson)
07 Never My Love (single 1968)
08 All Of The Time (b-side of 'Never My Love')

Mabel Greer's Toyshop (Chris Squire, Peter Banks)
09 Beyond And Before (demo 1968)
10 Get Yourself Together (demo 1968)
11 Jeanetta (demo 1968)

Canto (Steve Howe)
12 The Spanish Song (recorded 1968)

Bodast (Steve Howe)
13 Nether Street (recorded 1969)
14 Beyond Winter (recorded 1969)

Neat Change (Peter Banks)
15 I Lied To Aunty May (single 1968)

Enjoy / Enjoy

Track listing

Winston's Fumbs (Tony Kaye)
01 Snow White (b-side of 'Real Crazy Apartment' 1967)

The Syn (Chris Squire, Peter Banks)
02 Flowerman (single 1967)
03 14 Hour Technicolour Dream (b-side of 'Flowerman')

Tomorrow (Steve Howe)
04 Revolution (single 1967)
05 Three Jolly Little Dwarfs (b-side of 'Revolution')

Paper Blitz Tissue (Bill Bruford)
06 Grey Man (b-side of 'Boy Meets Girl' 1967)

Hans Christian (Jon Anderson)
07 (The Autobiography Of) Mississippi Hobo (single 1968)
08 Sonata Of Love (b-side of '(The Autobiography Of) Mississippi Hobo')

Mabel Greer's Toyshop (Chris Squire, Peter Banks)
09 Images Of You And Me (demo 1968)
10 Electric Funeral (demo 1968)

Canto (Steve Howe)
11 Power Of Music (recorded 1968)

Bodast (Steve Howe)
12 Tired Towers (recorded 1969)
13 Nothing To Cry For (recorded 1969)

Neat Change (Peter Banks)
14 Sandman (b-side of 'I Lied To Auntie May' 1968)

Enjoy / Enjoy

Yes - The Beat Years (1966)

Anthony John Selvidge (Kaye) was born on 11 January 1945 in Leicester, and at a very young age was left his grandmother's grand piano, which he played on when he was little. At age four, Kaye began formal piano lessons, and took part in his first concerts at twelve in solo and duet piano performances. His aim was to study at the Royal College of Music in London and become a concert pianist, but he developed an interest in other music once he heard jazz musicians Count Basie and Duke Ellington. By the early 1960s, Kaye had abandoned his classical background in favour of pop and rock music, and after moving to London, he used to visit The Marquee club to watch bands play, including keyboardist Graham Bond whose style became a strong influence. Kaye landed a position in The Federals through an advertisement in Melody Maker and played on their singles recorded between 1963 and 1967, mainly in a covers and comedy showband style, and after passing through Yellow Passion Loaf and Johnny Taylor's Star Combo, he joined Jimmy Winston in Winston's Fumbs. 

Christopher Russell Edward Squire was born on 4 March 1948 in Kingsbury, north west London, and from the age of six his only musical experience was singing in a church choir. He didn't consider a music career until the age of sixteen, when the emergence of the Beatles and the Beat music boom in the early 1960's inspired him to "be in a group that don't use music stands". A school friend recommended Squire to take up the bass after pointing out his tall frame and large hands, thinking they were ideal for playing the instrument, so Squire purchased his first bass. After being suspended from school for having long hair, he never returned, and landed a job selling guitars at a Boosey & Hawkes shop in Regent Street, where he used the staff discount to purchase a new Rickenbacker bass. Squire's first band was The Selfs, a rock and rhythm and blues band that featured Andrew Pryce Jackman on keyboards and Martin Adelman on drums. In 1965, following several personnel changes, Squire, Jackman and Adelman teamed up with singer Steve Nardelli, guitarist John Painter, and drummer Gunnar Jökull Hákonarson to form a new group, the Syn. 

Peter William Brockbanks (Banks) was born on 15 July 1947, and grew up in Barnet, North London, learning to play the  acoustic guitar and banjo as a teenager. His musical career started with the Nighthawks in 1963, and he played his first concert at the New Barnet Pop Festival before leaving them to join the Devil's Disciples in 1964. That band consisted of Banks on guitar, John Tite on vocals, Ray Alford on bass and Malcolm "Pinnie" Raye on drums, and they recorded two songs on an acetate, Arthur Alexander's 'You Better Move On' and Graham Gouldman's 'For Your Love' (which would later be a hit for the Yardbirds). About a year later, Banks joined The Syndicats, replacing their guitarist Ray Fenwick, who had himself replaced Steve Howe, who would later replace Banks in Yes.

Stephen James Howe was born on 8 April 1947 in Holloway, North London, and was exposed to a wide variety of music during his childhood by way of his parents record collection. After he left primary school, he wanted to become a guitarist, and so his parents bought an F-hole acoustic at age 12 as a Christmas present. Two years later he bought a solid body Guyatone, his first electric guitar, which was followed with a Gibson ES-175D in 1964, one of the guitars that he would became most identified with. Later that year he became a member of his first professional band, the north London-based r'n'b group The Syndicats, who were produced by Joe Meek. The band recorded three singles, and the b-side of one of them, 'True To Me', was Howe's first co-writing credit with the band's singer Tom Ladd. In 1965, he left the band and accepted an invitation to join The In-Crowd, a soul and covers band who released a rendition of Otis Redding's 'That's How Strong My Love Is', which just missed the UK Top 40.

John Roy Anderson was born on 25 October 1944 in Accrington, Lancashire, and as a youngster he became a fan of several musicians, including Elvis Presley, Eddie Cochran, The Everly Brothers, and Jon Hendricks. He attended St. John's School, but was not a strong academic, and while there he made a tentative start in a musical career, playing the washboard in Little John's Skiffle Group. At fifteen he left school, and had no particular desire to become a singer until his brother Tony took up singing and joined the Warriors, a local group also known as the Electric Warriors. After one of the backing vocalists left the group, Anderson filled in the position, and found music more enjoyable and a better choice for money than manual labour. The group performed mainly cover songs, and recorded two singles in 1965, 'You Came Along' and 'Don't Make Me Blue'. After the Warriors split in Germany in late 1967, the band returned to England while Anderson stayed behind, briefly singing in the Party, a band from Bolton who were playing in Germany.

Track listing

The Federals (Tony Kaye)
01 Boot Hill (single 1963)
02 Keep On Dancing With Me (b-side of 'Boot Hill')
03 Brazil (single 1963)
04 In A Persian Market (b-side of 'Brazil')
05 Marlena (single 1964)
06 Please Believe Me (b-side of 'Marlena')

The Selfs (Chris Squire)
07 I Can't Explain (demo 1964)

The Devil's Disciples (Peter Banks)
08 You Better Move On (single 1964)

The Syndicats (Steve Howe, Peter Banks)
09 Maybelline (single 1964)
10 True To Me (b-side of 'Maybelline')
11 On The Horizon (single 1965)

The Warriors (Jon Anderson)
12 You Came Along (single 1965)

The In Crowd (Steve Howe)
13 Stop! Wait A Minute (single 1965)
14 You're On Your Own (b-side of 'Stop! Wait A Minute')
15 Why Must They Criticide (single 1965)
16 I Don't Mind (b-side of 'Why Must They Criticise')

Enjoy / Enjoy

Track listing

The Federals (Tony Kaye)
01 Twlight Time (single 1964)
02 Lost And Alone (b-side of 'Twilight Time')
03 The Climb (single 1964)
04 Dance With A Dolly (b-side of 'The Climb')
05 Bucket Full Of Love (single 1965)
06 Leah (b-side of 'Bucket Full Of Love')

The Selfs (Chris Squire)
07 Love You (demo 1964)

The Devil's Disciples (Peter Banks)
08 For Your Love (b-side of 'You Better Move On' 1964)

The Syndicats (Steve Howe, Peter Banks)
09 Crawdaddy Simone (b-side of 'On The Horizon' 1965)
10 Howlin' For My Baby (single 1965)
11 What To Do (b-side of 'Howlin' For My Baby')

The Warriors (Jon Anderson)
12 Don't Make Me Blue (b-side of 'You Came Along' 1965)

The In Crowd (Steve Howe)
13 That's How Strong My Love Is (single 1965)
14 Things She Says (b-side of 'That's How Strong My Love Is')
15 Am I Glad To See You (previously unreleased 1966)
16 Blow Up (previously unreleased 1966) 

Enjoy / Enjoy

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

The Rutles - The Shite Album (2017)

Well, this is embarrassing. I posted this album almost a year ago to the day, and it wasn't until today that it was pointed out to me that one of Neil's best songs, 'Godfrey Daniel', did not appear anywhere in The Rutles discography. The track listing for 'The Shite Album' on the band's wiki page has the song as third from the end on side four, so I've now restored it to it's rightful place, and updated the links. I can only assume that it went the way of 'Living In Hope' way back when I first posted the album, as it was on there to start with and then somehow got deleted, but it's now back where it belongs. If you want to just download the song and slot it in yourself then there's a link for that as well.  

Track listing

Disc One

01 We've Arrived! (And To Prove It We're Here) 
02 Let's Be Natural 
03 Unfinished Words 
04 Mr. Eurovision Song Contest Man 
05 My Little Ukelele
06 Hey Mister!
07 Jollity Farm
08 Dream On
09 I Give Myself To You

10 Another Day
11 Bad Blood
12 Rutleution 2
13 Living In Hope
14 How's Your Father    
15 Labio Dental Fricative
16 Mother  

Disc Two

01 Sausages  
02 Short Blues  
03 Quiet Talks & Summer Walks 
04 Don't Know Why 
05 We Are Normal  
06 Highs And Lows 

07 Paper-Round
08 Tent
09 Sugar Cube 1967
10 11 Mustachioed Daughters
11 Godfrey Daniel
12 Evolution Number Ten
13 Scarlet Ribbons


Disc One

* The Rutles - 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 10, 12, 13
* Nel Innes - 4, 8, 9, 16
* Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band - 7, 11
* Patto - 14
* Vivian Stanshall/Neil Innes - 15

Disc Two

* The Rutles - 4, 12
* The Flames - 6
* Neil Innes - 11
* Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band - 3, 5, 8, 10, 13
* Patto - 1, 9
* Vivian Stnashall/Neil Innes - 7
* GRIMMS - 2

Godfrey Daniel


Tuesday, 26 November 2019

The Doors - L.A. Woman Sessions (1971)

This album features seven alternative versions of songs from the Doors' 1971 album 'LA Woman', plus a never-before-heard song 'She Smells So Nice', which captures the band joyfully barreling through a full-throttle original before segueing into the blues standard 'Rock Me'. As the song closes, Jim Morrison can be heard chanting 'Mr. Mojo Risin' (an anagram of his name that was made famous during the bridge of 'L.A. Woman'). The track was recently discovered by producer Bruce Botnick while reviewing the L.A. Woman session tapes. Dave Horn reviewed it on Amazon, and it's worth hearing his view on it:
This one isn't just another reissue of the well known album but also one for the discerning Doors fans and collectors, featuring as it does different versions of 7 of the 10 tunes plus the unissued 'She Smells So Nice'/'Rock me Baby', all recorded in The Doors Workshop at the time of the 'LA Woman' sessions. The quality of the alternative versions is, as one would expect, excellent of course and I'm surprised that they have never appeared before. Enough has been said about the original album so I'll concentrate here on the alternative versions. I haven't actually compared any of them to the originals, merely listened to the unreleased ones and said what comes to mind, but I can say with certainty that most of the alternate versions are less polished than those used on the album and, indeed, sound at times like demos rather than alternate takes or versions. 'The Changeling', which Jim tells the band is his favourite number, is longer at nearly 5 minutes and powers along at around the same speed as the album version but with a different keyboard riff. It is, perhaps, more powerful and certainly bluesier with more raucous lead guitar. 'Love Her Madly' features a lazier Morrison vocal with different lyrics and a totally different keyboard section in the middle. 'Been Down So Long' is probably the least different alternative, much the same as the album version apart from being a bit rougher and longer. 
The slow, dirty, blues of 'Cars Hiss By My Window' seems to feature somewhat more prominent guitar than the LP version and is 30 seconds longer. 'LA Woman' meanwhile features different lead guitar riffs and a weird bit of extra vocalising brings it to a sudden end at 8.45. 'The WASP (Texas Radio And The Big Beat)' features different lyrics and is 1.20 longer than the album version but this comprises a cacophony of jazzy guitar and drums with no discernible tune. Clocking in at 2 minutes longer than the original, 'Riders on the Storm' could have been the jewel in the crown here, were it not for the fact that the extra time is occupied by a throw away Morrison ditty, false start and chat occupying the first 2 minutes plus a somewhat flat Morrison vocal, especially evident at the start of the tune proper. Finally, music-wise, you get the addition of an actual unreleased song 'She Smells So Nice', which morphs into 'Rock Me', but both are pretty much filler and it`s no wonder they were not used on the 'LA Woman' album proper. One further song is reputed to have been recorded at these sessions, but 'Paris Blues' is only known to exist on a cassette tape that was originally in Ray Manzarek's possession, but somehow, over time, the cassette was inadvertently recorded over in parts by his son Pablo. Efforts are apparently being made to repair/restore it, with a view to adding it to a future box set, but as there isn't even a copy of the damaged tape online, we'll just have to bide our time and wait to hear it. I usually edit out the studio chatter on albums like this, but as it's The Doors I thought that I'd leave it in, although I have also included an edited version in case you only want to hear the chatter the once.

Track listing

01 The Changling
02 Love Her Madly
03 Cars Hiss By My Window
04 LA Woman
05 The WASP (Texas Radio And The Big Beat)
06 Been Down So Long
07 Riders On The Storm
08 She Smells So Nice >
09 Rock Me

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Pink Floyd - Passage (2009)

In the reply that Ray Kolling posted on the Steve Hoffman site about his mix of 'Dark Side Of A Dream' he said During the 5 years after the release, it got about 1,000,000 downloads on torrent sites. I never expected that but I did produce a second mix 'Passage' shortly thereafter. Personally, I don't think it was quite as good and I didn't put much effort into it, but it did have limited success. 
This one is much easier to find, and there is a Youtube video of it with some nice visuals attached, but the visitor who gave us the good copy of '...Dream' has sent a high quality copy of 'Passage', and as I'd already made the cover I'm able to post it straight away. I think Ray is being modest in his appraisal of it, as it sounds great to me, and concentrates more on the 'Dark Side..'/'Wish You Were Here' period, with some interesting versions of the songs used in the mix. If anyone feels like breaking it down and identifying the songs used, like toptentwist did with the first one, then feel free, and I can add that to the post later. 

Track listing

01 Passage

Enjoy / Enjoy

Friday, 22 November 2019

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Everybody's Alone (1969)

For a complete lowdown on unissued Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young songs then head over to Paul's site for CSN and CSNY, but I wanted to post this album as I've had this bootleg CD for many years and it's probably the unofficial album that I play the most. Crosby, Stills & Nash's first self-titled album was released in May 1969 and was an immediate hit, spawning two Top 40 hit singles and receiving key airplay on the new FM radio format. With the exception of drummer Dallas Taylor, Stills had handled the lion's share of the instrumental parts himself, and although it was a testament to his talent, it left the band in need of additional personnel to be able to tour, now a necessity given the debut album’s commercial success. Retaining Taylor, the band decided initially to hire a keyboard player, and Stills at one point approached Steve Winwood, who declined. Atlantic label head Ahmet Ertegün suggested Canadian singer/songwriter Neil Young as a fairly obvious choice, and despite initial reservations by Stills and Nash (Stills owing to his history with Young in Buffalo Springfield, and Nash due to his personal unfamiliarity with Young) the trio eventually expanded to a quartet with Young a full partner. With Young on board, the restructured group went on tour in the late summer of 1969 through the following January. Between tour dates the band convened at Wally Heider's Studio between June and November 1969, and laid down some tracks for a proposed second album, although as it turned out most of the songs remained unreleased until the box sets started to appear. The recordings are all in superb quality, and highlights include beautiful alternate recordings of 'Triad' and 'The Lee Shore', a gorgeous in-studio take of 'Blackbird', and a lovely rendition of the Fred Neil track 'Everybody’s Talkin’', which Harry Nilsson made popular on the 'Midnight Cowboy' soundtrack. I've made a few edits to some of the songs and trimmed the track listing, but I've kept the basic layout of the cover, and just upgraded it by replacing the black and white photos with colour ones. I've also re-titled it, as 'Studio Archives 1969' was a bit bland. Paul has spread these songs over a number of his albums, so you could treat this as a sampler, and if you like what you hear then there's loads more out there for you to enjoy. 

Track listing

01 How Have You Been (John Sebastian cover) Recording Date Unknown 
02 Everyday We Live (Stephen Stills) Recorded at Wally Heider's Studio 1969 
03 Everybody's Talkin' (Fred Neil cover) Recording Date Unknown 
04 Sea Of Madness (Studio Take) Recorded at Wally Heider's Studio 1969 
05 Triad (Acoustic Studio Take) Recording Date Unknown
06 The Lee Shore (Different vocal take) Recorded at Stephen Stills' Home Studio 1969 
07 I'll Be There (Stephen Stills) Recorded at Wally Heider's Studio 1969 
08 Blackbird (Beatles cover) Recorded at Wally Heider's Studio 1969 
09 Ivory Tower (Stephen Stills) Recorded at Wally Heider's Studio 1969 
10 Everybody's Alone (Neil Young) Recorded at Wally Heider's Studio 1969. 
11 You're Wrong Baby (Graham Nash) Recorded at Wally Heider's Studio 1969
12 30 Dollar Fine (Stephen Stills) Recorded at Wally Heider's Studio 1969

Enjoy / Enjoy

Aretha Franklin - This Is (1973)

I have to admit that soul music is fairly well down my list of favourite musical styles, but there are a few artists that I do love, and Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin are among them. When Franklin selected Quincey Jones to co-produce her 1973 album 'Hey Now Hey (The Other Side Of The Sky)' with her, the collaboration was so productive that they recorded almost twice as many songs as were needed for the disc. By taking the seven extra songs that they laid down in those sessions, and adding three out-takes from 1970's 'Young Gifted And Black', we end up with a quite superb album of unheard material which could have easily been slotted in between the two parent albums. Bearing in mind that these songs were not considered good enough to release at the time they were recorded, the quality of them is astounding, and this album is the equal of any of her official releases of the period.  

Track listing

01 My Cup Runneth Over
02 I Need A Strong Man (The To-To Song) 
03 Heavenly Father 
04 This Is 
05 Sweetest Smile And The Funkiest Style
06 Tree Of Life 
07 Do You Know 
08 Can You Love Again 
09 Suzanne
10 I Want To Be With You 

Enjoy / Enjoy

The Velvet Underground - The Scepter Studio Sessions (1969)

Forty years after it was made, the Velvet Underground's first recording was purchased for 75 cents at a Manhattan flea market, and has since become a financial success in cyberspace on eBay. Warren Hill, a collector from Montreal who discovered the 12-inch, bought the acetate LP seventeen years ago (2002) at a flea market in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood for 75 cents. The recording turned out to be an in-studio acetate made during Velvet Underground's first recording over four days in April 1966 at New York's Scepter Studios. The record reportedly is one of only two in existence; the other is privately owned, with rumors circulating around the world about who the owner is. The studio recording — considered lost — is the first version of an LP that the artist Andy Warhol shopped to Columbia Records as a ready-to-release debut album by his protégé band, according to Eric Isaacson of Mississippi Records in Portland, Oregon. Isaacson helped Hill decipher the nature of his lucky find. "We cued it up and were stunned — the first song was not 'Sunday Morning' as on the 'Velvet Underground & Nico' Verve LP, but rather it was 'European Son' — the song that is last on that LP, and it was a version neither of us had ever heard before!" writes Isaacson. "It was less bombastic and more bluesy than the released version, and it clocked in at a full two minutes longer. I immediately took the needle off the record, and realized that we had something special." Columbia had rejected the album due to it's sexual and drug related themes, but the Velvet Underground went on to worldwide success, leaving its musical stamp on hundreds of other bands. How the LP got to the flea market is a mystery, but once Hill and Isaacson discovered what they had, they photographed the album and made a digital backup copy of the music. They also decided to put it up for auction through Saturn Records, of Oakland, California, which represented Hill for the 10-day eBay auction that began Nov. 28, with first online bids blazing to $20,000 (€15,000). Note: The first eBay auction went badly wrong - with the final $155,000 bid being a hoax. The album is now back in auction for a second time with pre-approved bidders.
Notes from the Zinhof blog where I found the album.

Track listing

01 European Son (9:04)
02 The Black Angel's Death Song (3:16)
03 All Tomorrow's Parties (5:54)
04 I'll Be Your Mirror (2:10)
05 Heroin (6:17)
06 Femme Fatale (2:36)
07 Venus In Furs (4:30)
08 Waiting For The Man (4:10)
09 Run Run Run (4:21)

Enjoy / Enjoy

Alice Cooper - Ripping The Sawdust From My Teddybear (1986)

With the release of the 'Love It To Death' album in 1971, Alice Cooper had reinvented themselves as a shocking glam-rock band, with a stage show that was to become notorious in its ghoulishness. Hooking up with young producer Bob Ezrin, they released the single 'I'm Eighteen' in late 1970, which became a surprise Top 40 hit, and this lead to  Warner Bros  thinking that the band could be a viable commercial act, and so they invested heavily in that third Alice Cooper album. It was initially released on Frank Zappa's Straight Records, but was reissued on the Warner label following its buyout of the imprint from Zappa, giving the band even greater exposure. Under Ezrin's direction, their music moved from psychedelic rock to a tighter, guitar-driven hard rock sound, and much of the lyrical content continued to explore decadence, perversion and psychosis. Hit single followed hit single, with 'School's Out', 'Hello Hooray', and 'Elected' all hitting the top ten on both sides of the Atlantic, and while they were at the peak of their powers, readers of the New Musical Express in the UK were treated to a cover-mounted flexi-disc featuring the otherwise unreleased 'Slick Black Limousine'. This was the first of many exclusive tracks which started to grace soundtrack and tribute albums in the 70's and 80's, both as the band Alice Cooper, and then from 1975 onwards when the group broke up, as Alice Cooper the solo artist. I've gathered the best of these, and added a rare demo from the 'Killer' era, as well as a couple more demos from 1973 and 1981, a 1982 stand-alone single, a 1980 b-side, and of course that NME flexi, to make up an album of rare and hard to find songs covering the whole of the band's career. 

Track listing

01 Slick Black Limousine (NME freebie 1973)
02 Call It Evil (demo 1971)
03 Respect For The Sleepers (demo 1973)
04 I'm Flash (from 'Flash Fearless' 1975)
05 Space Pirates (from 'Flash Fearless' 1975)
06 No Time For Tears (from the 'Sextette' soundtrack 1977)
07 Because (from the 'Sgt Pepper' tribute album 1978)
08 No Tricks (b-side of 'How You Gonna See Me Now' 1978)
09 Road Rats (from the 'Roadie' soundtrack 1980)
10 Look At You Over There, Ripping The Sawdust From My Teddybear (demo 1981)
11 For Britain Only (single 1982)
12 Identity Crisis (from the 'Monster Dog' soundtrack 1984)
13 See Me In The Mirror (from the 'Monster Dog' soundtrack 1984)
14 Hard Rock Summer (from the 'Friday The 13th Part VI - Jason Lives' soundtrack 1986)
15 He's Back (demo for the 'Friday The 13th Part VI - Jason Lives' soundtrack 1986)

Enjoy / Enjoy

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Various Artists - The Planets (2015)

I was answering a comment the other week on one of my Manfred Mann posts and it reminded me that the 1973 hit single 'Joybringer' was based on the melody from 'Saturn:The Bringer Of Joy' from Gustav Holst's 'The Planets Suite'. It's always been my favourite piece of classical music - one of the few pieces that I can listen to regularly - and I wondered if any other rock songs were based on sections of it. I know that when Gustav Holst died his daughter Imogen took over looking after the copyright of his music, and one thing she was very insistent on was that no other form of music other than orchestral was to be used while it was in copyright, so I've often wondered how King Crimson got away with using 'Mars:The Bringer Of War' as the basis or their 'The Devil's Triangle' from their 'In The Wake Of Poseidon' album in 1970, but somehow they did, and so I now had two pieces. The rest of the album took some research, as those did seem to be the two most popular pieces, but once I found Cailyn Lloyd's 'Voyager' album from 2015 I had the choice of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, all of which he'd covered in a progressive rock style, with organ and guitar well to the fore. Jeff Wayne and Rick Wakeman had also decided to record an album based on 'The Planets', but they covered the whole suite, using keyboards and orchestra, and so I chose what was generally considered to be the best track from that recording, 'Venus:Bringer of Peace'. 
When Holst wrote the suite, he originally intended the whole thing to be played on two pianos, and it was later scored for orchestra to become the classical piece that we know today, but I thought it would be interesting to hear at least one piece in its original form, so 'Mercury:The Winged Messenger' is played on two pianos by Richard Markham and David Nettle. On my trawl of the net in search of new interpretations, one of the most unusual that I found was a Youtube video of a concert by a jazz trio, led by pianist Ryan Skiles. He's scored the whole thing for a jazz trio, and it was something of a triumph, with many complementary comments, so I decided to use 'Saturn:The Bringer Of Old Age' from the concert for this album. To round it all off we have Neptune:The Mystic' from probably the most famous modern interpretation, by Isao Tomita, who recorded the whole suite on keyboards and synthesizers in 1976. This was the first time that Imogen Holst became infamous in the rock world when she forced the withdrawal of all UK copies of the album, although I managed to get my hands on one just before they were recalled, as did a number of other fans of the Japanese synth wizard, and the album is more freely available now since the copyright expired. If you haven't heard 'The Planets' played by an orchestra then I do recommend it, and you'll recognise at least a couple of the pieces even if you aren't into classical music. If you are already a fan then I hope that this rock version shows it in a new light.    

Track listing

01 Mars:The Bringer Of War (King Crimson)
02 Venus:The Bringer Of Peace (Rick Wakeman & Jeff Wayne)
03 Mercury:The Winger Messenger (Richard Markham & David Nettle)
04 Joybringer (Manfred Mann's Earth Band)
05 Saturn:The Bringer Of Old Age (Ryan Skiles Trio)
06 Uranus:The Magician (Cailyn Lloyd)
07 Neptune:The Mystic (Isao Tomita)

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Friday, 15 November 2019

Queen - Blurred Vision (1995)

After the 1971 demos resulted in a record deal with EMI, Queen spent 1972 recording their debut album for the label. They had quite a few songs ready to lay down, in fact more than could be fitted on the album, so 'Mad The Swine' had to be omitted from the final cut after producer Roy Thomas Baker and the band disagreed on the quality of the percussion. The song was meant to be the fourth track on the album between 'Great King Rat' and 'My Fairy King', but with the issue unresolved, the track was left off the album, and later re-surfaced in 1991 as both the B-side to the 'Headlong' CD single in the UK, and on the Hollywood Records re-release of the 'Queen' album. Another song recorded in 1972 was 'See What A Fool I've Been', which was used as the b-side to 'Seven Seas Of Rhye', making a classic single, with one of their best-ever songs on the A-side and a previously unheard song on the flip. After that flurry of productivity, however, b-sides tended to be taken from the same album as the single, or in some cases even the previous release, and it wasn't until 1980 that another single with an unissued track on the flip emerged, and from then on it was a regular occurrence. 'Blurred Vision', from 1985, is an experimental instrumental re-working of it's A-side 'One Vision', and it's great to hear the band trying something a bit different, while similarly, 'Forever' is a beautiful piano version of 'Who Wants To Live Forever'. The only non-album A-side they ever issued was their 1984 Christmas single, and that was something of a last minute decision, as originally the plan was to release 'Man On The Prowl' as the 5th and last 7" single from 'The Works' album, but it was cancelled at the last minute in favour of a new song 'Thank God It's Christmas', although it kept the same catalogue number. Being Queen, there isn't a bad song on this album, even though they are all basically left-overs, and I might be wrong but I couldn't find any sign of an official b-sides collection from the band ever being released, so it makes this album rather special. 

Track listing

01 See What A Fool I've Been (b-side of 'Seven Seas Of Rhye' 1974)
02 Mad The Swine (previously unreleased 1972, and b-side of 'Headlong' 1991)
03 A Human Body (b-side of 'Play The Game' 1980)
04 Soul Brother (b-side of 'Under Pressure' 1981)
05 Thank God It's Christmas (single 1984)
06 Blurred Vision (b-side of 'One Vision' 1985)
07 I Go Crazy (b-side of 'Radio Ga Ga' 1983)
08 Forever (Piano Version) (b-side of 'Who Wants To Live Forever' 1986)
09 Hijack My Heart (b-side of 'The Invisible Man' 1989)
10 A Dozen Red Roses For My Darling (b-side of 'A Kind Of Magic' 1986)
11 Hang On In There (b-side of 'I Want It All' 1989)
12 Stealin' (b-side of 'Breakthru' 1989)
13 Chinese Torture (from the 'A Kind Of Magic' bonus EP 1989)
14 Lost Opportunity (b-side of 'I'm Going Slightly Mad' 1991)
15 Rock In Rio Blues (b-side of 'A Winter's Tale' 1995)

Enjoy / Enjoy

You might also like this reworking of 1989's 'The Miracle' that I spotted on another blog last year. I pieced it together using the suggested track listing and made a cover for it, and now for the life of me I can't remember where I got it from, but I have saved the notes from the blog in the folder.

Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of A Dream (2003) UPDATE

Great news, and many, many thanks to the anonymous visitor who's sent me a proper audio copy of this Pink Floyd mix. Links are now updated, and we can finally hear in top quality just what everyone has been raving about. 

Alice Cooper - Nobody Likes Us (1970)

The Earwigs formed in Phoenix in 1964 with three of the eventual five Alice Cooper members (Vince Furnier, Dennis Dunaway and Glen Buxton), who were classmates in high school. They were joined shortly afterwards by John Tatum on rhythm guitar and John Speer on drums, and changed their name to The Spiders, with Michael Bruce replacing Tatum in 1966, and Neal Smith replacing Speer the following year. The band relocated to Los Angeles in early 1967, and changed their name again, this time to The Nazz. During their time as The Spiders and The Nazz the band released a number of singles on local labels such as Santa Cruz Records and Very Records. In 1968, the band learned that Todd Rundgren also had a band called Nazz, and found themselves in need of another name. The legend is that the name 'Alice Cooper' came from a session with a Ouija board and was the name of a 17th century witch. However, Furnier described the incident with the Ouija board as "just pure urban legend...but it was a great story." In fact the name was chosen simply as a gimmick, because it sounded innocuous and wholesome, in humorous contrast to the band's image and music.
After a 1968 gig at the Cheetah club in Venice, California, where most of the club's patrons left after hearing the band play just ten minutes, they were approached by music manager Shep Gordon, who saw the band's negative impact that night as a force that could be turned in a more productive direction. He arranged an audition for the band with Frank Zappa, who was looking to sign bizarre music acts to his new record label, Straight Records. Zappa told them to come to his house "at 7 o'clock" for an audition, but the band mistakenly assumed he meant 7 o'clock in the morning. Being woken up by a band willing to play that particular brand of music at seven in the morning impressed Zappa enough for him to sign them to a three-album deal, and the first three Alice Cooper albums were released on Zappa's Straight label. This album looks back at the early days of Alice Cooper, with their two singles as The Spiders, the sole outing from The Nazz, plus a rare demo from them, the studio version of 'Levity Ball', which appeared on their 1969 'Pretties For You' album in a live rendition, and some choice tracks from their first two albums for Zappa, including a freaked-out version of their 1967 Nazz single. This takes us up to 1970, when they reinvented themselves as the shock-rock glam-racket band that we know and love today. 

Track listing

01 Don't Blow Your Mind (The Spiders single 1966)
02 No Price Tags (b-side of 'Don't Blow Your Mind)
03 Hitch Hike (The Spiders single 1965)
04 Why Don't You Love Me (b-side of 'Hitch Hike')
05 Lay Down And Die, Goodbye (The Nazz single 1967)
06 Wonder Who's Loving Her Now (b-side of 'Lay Down And Die, Goodbye)
07 Nobody Likes Me (The Nazz demo 1968)
08 Levity Ball (studio version 1968)
09 Living (from 'Pretties For You 1969)
10 Fields Of Regret (from 'Pretties For You' 1969)
11 Return Of The Spiders (from 'Easy Action' 1970)
12 Lay Down And Die, Goodbye (from 'Easy Action' 1970) 

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Brian Eno - Music For White Cube (1997)

'Music For White Cube' was a sound installation created by Brian Eno for the White Cube gallery in London, which ran from 25th April to 31st May 1997. It consisted of 4 CD players playing tracks of Eno singing one note with a background of traffic and other street sounds, which had then been slowed down and enhanced using audio software. The gallery describes itself as 'possibly the smallest exhibition space in Europe', and consists of a simple square room, painted white. During the show, white blinds covered the two windows in one wall and a suspended ceiling muffled lights that were suspended above it. Mounted on each of the four walls was a CD-player with two speakers on either side, playing random tracks.
Eno created the music by selecting random sites situated within a one-mile radius of the White Cube and recording a variety of ambient sounds around him, such as crowd-noise, the ringing bells of clock-towers, weather and rushing traffic. On top of this he also recorded himself singing a single, long note at each location. Taking the raw recordings back to his London studio, he ran them through a variety of enhancement software/hardware to produce a series of time-stretched, compressed, equalised, reverberating compositions, which he burned onto CDs (8 to 16 tracks on each). These were the discs that were fed into the Installation players and set to 'random'. Eno says "I was thinking of the sound less as music and more as sculpture, space, landscape, and of the experience as a process of immersion rather than just of listening."
I'll admit that it's debatable whether you would actually call this "music", and it's certainly one of his most challenging works, which perhaps needs to be listened to in situ to really appreciate it, but I'm sure fans of his who haven't heard it will be intrigued enough to try it at least once. This CD of extracts from the installation was released in a limited edition of 500, and I've created new artwork for it to replace the minimalist line drawing that it was housed in. 

Track listing

01 Notting Hill, Feb 20   (11:37)
02 Old Brompton Road, Feb 20   (3:03)
03 The Oval, Feb 24   (7:03)
04 Regents Park, Feb 01   (24:34)
05 Barbican Station, Feb 24   (1:39)
06 Bermondsey, Feb 24   (4:16)
07 Kentish Town, Jan 29   (2:27)
08 Lavender Hill, Feb 14   (7:00)
09 Camden Town, Feb 24   (6:20)

The Climax Chicago Blues Band - Loving Machine (1976)

The Climax Chicago Blues Band were formed in Stafford, England in 1968, by lead guitarist/vocalist Peter Haycock, saxophonist/vocalist Colin Cooper, guitarist Derek Holt, keyboardist Arthur Wood, bassist Richard Jones, and drummer George Newsome. The band were one of the leading lights of the late 1960's UK blues boom, and released blues albums in the late 60's and early 70's to rival Fleetwood Mac and The Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation. Prior to the release of 1969's 'Plays On', Jones left the group and Holt moved to bass, and in 1970, the group shortened its name to the Climax Blues Band, reportedly due to pressure from the American band Chicago Transit Authority. They also moved to the Harvest label, shifting their sound towards a more rock oriented approach on 1970's 'A Lot of Bottle'. Around the release of 1971's 'Tightly Knit', Newsome was replaced by John Cuffley, and when Wood left in the wake of 1972's 'Rich Man', they continued on as a quartet. In 1974 they issued 'FM Live', a document of a New York radio concert, and following the success of that album in America, 1975's 'Stamp Album' was their commercial breakthrough. The following year's 'Gold Plated' fared even better, with their biggest success on both sides of the Atlantic being the hit single 'Couldn't Get It Right', but by this time the blues had long gone, and the 'Gold Plated' album was the last one of theirs that I bought. The rise of punk rock effectively stopped the group in its tracks, and by 1981 they'd left their blues roots far behind and attempted to become a mainstream pop-rock band, admittedly with some success. Over the years out-takes have appeared on re-issues of their albums, and as most of them are from the classic blues years of 1968 to 1971, I've collected them all together for this album of b-sides and rarities, which will just emphasise what a great blues outfit they were in their early days, and if you don't know the band then hopefully it will prompt you to try their first few albums. 

Track listing

01 Checking On My Baby (previously unreleased 1968)
02 Arthur's Boogie (previously unreleased 1968)
03 Stormy Monday (previously unreleased 1968)
04 Don't Start Me Talkin' (previously unreleased 1968)
05 Anybody's Boogie (previously unreleased 1968)
06 Like Uncle Charlie (single 1969)
07 Loving Machine (b-side of 'Like Uncle Charlie')
08 Dance Of The Mountain (previously unreleased)
09 Flight (Live at the Blow Up Club 1971)
10 Fat Maybellene (b-side of 'Couldn't Get It Right' 1976)
11 Shadow Man (previously unreleased 1976)
12 Spoonful (b-side of 'Reap What I've Sowed' 1970)

Enjoy / Enjoy